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What’s On: Stellar line-up for Cambridge Festival

Cambridge Festival is back with an eclectic mix of more than 350 events plus big names including author Jeanette Winterson and Astronomer Royal Professor Lord Martin Rees

Deceptions Hut (54708234)
Deceptions Hut (54708234)

It may have launched at a time of worldwide crisis, but that didn’t stop the inaugural Cambridge Festival attracting 100,000 online global views over its 10-day run last year.

Returning on March 31, the interdisciplinary festival will feature a variety of in-person (and online) talks, exhibitions, lab tours, films, workshops and performances, revolving around the themes of society, health, environment and discovery.

The aim of the event – which replaces the Cambridge Science Festival and the Cambridge Festival of Ideas – is to explore new ideas and present cutting edge research on hot topics including the treatment of diseases, the outlook for feminism, the future of eastern world orders and the state of the natural world.

Having dominated our lives for more than two years, Coronavirus features heavily.

University of Cambridge virologist and Naked Scientists’ broadcaster Dr Chris Smith talks about his experience of public engagement during the pandemic; Dr Moira Nicolson, Behavioural Science Lead at the Cabinet Office, addresses vaccine hesitancy and University of Cambridge researchers Professor Sharon Peacock and Dr Katerina Galai examine the genomic sequencing of the virus causing Covid-19.

A look at genetic sequencing behind the virus that causes Covid (54708236)
A look at genetic sequencing behind the virus that causes Covid (54708236)

The critical state of our planet gets much-needed spotlight with discussions including protein alternative such as lab-grown meats and insects, the possibilities of carbon capture and storage, and marine biomass regeneration.

Health and wellbeing events span the ethics of regenerative medicine, innovative treatments for cardiovascular disease, new technologies for organ transplantation and pioneering fertility research.

For families, the discovery element of the festival offers fascinating, interactive opportunities, including meeting ‘Pepper’ the robot wellbeing coach, watching explosive demos, taking part in gameshows and cracking codes in escape rooms.

From April 2-3, festival-goers can also embark on an immersive poetry, sound and film expedition at Deception Island Hut. Step inside the replica 1959 Antarctic hut to find a tiny caldera in the Antarctic Ocean, battered by the fiercest seas in the world and shaken by volcanic activity. Sounds exhilarating!

Cambridge Festival Manager David Cain says: “We are absolutely delighted to be back in person this year with a programme that covers the full spectrum of what it means to be human in the 21st century.”

Cambridge Festival – a series of free events run by the University of Cambridge - runs March 31 – April 10. See the full programme at festival.cam.ac.uk

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